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Public hearing on thermal plant tomorrow

Correspondent

It is proposed to be set up in scheduled area at Kotipam in Komarada mandal in the Agency

VIZIANAGARAM: Even as the Jindal Alumina controversy over settlement of compensation to land-holders in S. Kota mandal remains unsettled, yet another dispute on setting up of a major thermal power plant at Kotipam in Komarada mandal in the Agency has surfaced. Amid stiff opposition from the All-India Rythu Coolie Sangham (AIRCS), the A.P. Rythu Coolie Sangham (APRCS), the Adivasi Vikas Parishat (AVP), the Left parties and also from a section of ruling party members, a public hearing has been scheduled at the plant site on Friday.

Project cost

Alpha Infra Prop Private Limited (AIPL) has proposed to set up 4 x 660 MW thermal power plant at an estimated cost of Rs. 11,838 crores at Kotipam in the scheduled area. The land required for the plant is 1,675 acres at Kotipam, Peda Kherjala and Kothavalasa in Komarada mandal. While the mass organisations have been opposing the plant, the CPI (M) has been demanding a fair agreement between the management and people in the area on rehabilitation package before the government gave its consent. The CPI (M) has been demanding Rs. 10 lakhs per acre as compensation, as the thermal plant is a profit-making unit, apart from a job to each family.

According to CPI (M) district secretary M. Krishna Murty, the AIPL has allegedly “intimidated” farmers and “purchased” 600 acres of land, of which 200 acres are D-patta land. But, there is no evidence to that effect in the tehsildar’s office.

Irrigation tanks

It is learnt that the management, in the name of 99-year-lease agreement, paid Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 35,000 per acre to each tribal farmer. For the remaining zirayati land, it paid Rs. 1.60 lakhs per acre. In the land “acquired” so far there are 14 minor irrigation tanks. Hundreds of acres of land are being irrigated under them. The AIPL, however, maintains in its project report that the proposed thermal plant is being set up on wasteland. Mr. Krishna Murty says that “purchasing” D-patta land in scheduled area is illegal and they are liable for prosecution. The proposed thermal plant requires 8,000 cubic metres of water per hour and it would be drawn from the Nagavali, about 1.8 km from the plant site. Thotapalli, the major irrigation project across the Nagavali, and the Jhanjhavati are under execution. Those apart, work on Vanakabadigedda reservoir is also under progress at an estimated cost of Rs. 6.86 crores for providing assured irrigation to 1,037 acres. The amount for the reservoir was released from tribal sub-plan grant. Further, the threat of pollution, including river waters, is not ruled out. AIPL maintains in its report that it allocated Rs. 1,180 crores of the estimated cost for controlling pollution.

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